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Deleted Google Search Could Exonerate Massachusetts Professor Accused Of Running Over Cop Boyfriend, Defense Says
Finance professor Karen Read has been charged with murder after allegedly backing into her Boston cop boyfriend John O'Keefe outside his friend's house and leaving him to die. But a deleted Google search could exonerate her, her defense claims.
A Boston professor accused of leaving her cop boyfriend outside his friend's house during a snowstorm after hitting him with her car could be exonerated by cellphone data showing that a person inside the house searched "ho[w] long to die in cold," her defense team said in court last Wednesday.
Karen Read of Mansfield has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter and leaving the scene of a collision in connection to the death of Boston police officer John O'Keefe on Jan. 29 of 2022. She was indicted and arrested last June.
The couple of two years had spent the night bar hopping with a group of friends that included the residents of the Canton home where O'Keefe died later that evening. Read's attorneys said the defendant dropped O'Keefe off at fellow off-duty officer Brian Albert's home around 12:30 a.m. that night for an afterparty, according to The Boston Globe, and skipped the gathering due to stomach issues.
Prosecutors say Read, 41, made a three-point turn in the driveway, striking her boyfriend in the process. After O'Keefe, 46, failed to return home or answer calls and Read noticed that her car had a broken taillight, the Bentley University professor allegedly set out to look for him.
Around 6 a.m., she allegedly found him bloody and clinging to life, face-up in a snowbank outside his fellow police officer's house where she had left him. Temperatures that night fell to around 13 degrees Fahrenheit, and a severe winter storm dumped 21 inches of snow.
"I hit him, I hit him, I hit him," she allegedly told responding firefighters, according to NBC Boston.
New information shared by defense attorney David Yanetti on Wednesday, which he claimed was withheld by the state in a police coverup, allegedly implicates others in O'Keefe's death, according to a newly-filed defense motion reviewed by the Globe.
Jennifer McCabe, Albert's sister-in-law who was inside the home, "deleted from [her] phone [the] incriminated Google search from 2:27 a.m." and "deleted multiple phone calls" with others in the house before turning it over to authorities, according to court documents.
"This evidence unequivocally exonerates Karen, because it establishes that individuals who were in the house ... that night were aware that John was dying in the snow before Karen even knew he was missing," Yanetti wrote in a news release, according to the Globe.
"There is simply no innocent explanation for McCabe's search at that time," the defense team added in the news release.
Yanetti claims that prosecutors with the Norfolk District Attorney's Office had access to McCabe's phone for over a year.
"It's unthinkable that the prosecution would have McCabe's cellphone in their possession for more than a year, do a forensic analysis on that phone and then fail to turn over this extraordinary exculpatory evidence. But that's exactly what happened," Yanetti wrote in his statement. "It makes you wonder what else the prosecution has failed to turn over to the defense."
On Wednesday, the defense team asked a judge to allow them to inspect another phone from a party who was at the Canton home, according to NBC Boston.
Norfolk District Attorney's Office spokesman David Traub told the Globe that it has "not yet been determined that the defense has interpreted the raw [cell phone] data correctly," and said that prosecutors will make a "formal and detailed response to the motion" in Norfolk Superior Court at Read's next scheduled hearing on May 3.
The defense also claims that post-mortem photographs of O'Keefe contradict the prosecution's version of events, depicting wounds "consistent with a brutal fight" that suggest that the officer was "beaten severely and left for dead."
O'Keefe sustained "blunt force injuries to both sides of his face [and] the back of his head," "numerous defensive wounds on his hands" and "a cluster of deep scratches and puncture wounds to his right upper arm and forearm ... consistent with bite marks and/or claw marks from an animal, more specifically a dog," according to the press release.